The move would reduce “gold plating” and allow subnational managing authorities to apply directly to the European Commission.

The Congress of the European liberals, the ALDE Party, on Saturday 3 December in Warsaw, approved a proposal by the ALDE Group in the European Committee of the Regions to cut the national level of government out of the procedures of the European Structural and Investment Funds, in order to simplify procedures and make the funds more effective.

The resolution, drafted by Ulrika Landergren (Sweden), ALDE coordinator in the CoR’s Commission for Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER) and ALDE spokesperson on the simplification of structural funds Michiel Rijsberman (NL), argued that European Cohesion policy changes people’s lives by helping to release the full potential of the cities and regions of Europe, making the EU stronger and more competitive. However, it recognises that there is a growing climate of distrust in cohesion policy, partly because it is perceived to be too complex.

One of the key proposals presented by ALDE-CoR to simplify the procedures, and which received the support of the Congress, is to cut the national level of government out of the procedures thereby reducing so called “gold-plating”. This would also allow local and regional managing authorities to apply directly to the European Commission for project funding.

The resolution also called on the European Commission and member states to ensure complementarity and synergies between the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the Structural and Investment Funds, and all other EU financed programmes and initiatives in order to obtain the maximum added value. Member states should also increase communication and have a public debate about European structural and investment funds, improving their legitimacy and accountability. It also stressed that European Cohesion Policy can also help overcome market failures in border regions and support the development of cross-border transport links, which are essential to the EU.